Sunday, November 04, 2007


Oh dear. I feel a weensie grump coming on - a sort of Victoria Meldrew moment. As I drove home today, bemoaning the darkness at 6pm, knowing that while I'd walked soaking in the mist the sun had been splitting the sky just down the river at Ayr, I passed the shop which sells real Christmas trees in the season. And as an early rocket lit up the sky I noticed them. Christmas trees, real ones, cut and ready for sale. It's not even the 5th of November yet and they're selling trees. And I bet someone will buy them, and presumably put them up and they'll be shedding their needles all over someone's centrally-heated carpet before the month is out.

Some people moan about their trees: about the mess, and about how they're glad to see the back of them - around New Year, or even earlier. If they've bought them in November then I'm hardly surprised. But I feel there's an enormous dilution of the significance of any festival when it's spread out and anticipated in this manner. Just as I recall the excitement of waiting for the first rocket to be let off after dark on the evening of November 5th and the flicker of the first flames on the huge bonfire we'd all watched growing over the past weeks, I associate the smell of the newly-erected tree with the week just before Christmas, when the anticipation grew with the carefully-timed rituals. Now they all seem to merge messily - pumpkins and peanuts and Christmas trees and fireworks. We'll be having the hot cross buns soon.

Meanwhile I'll be watching for the first fairy lights out there ...

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